The Gilmour Academy Ice Arena in Gates Mills is welcoming back the group Skate Dance Dream group on Sept. 15. This is the third Ohio performance combining figure skating and dancing off of the ice.
Parker Pennington, the producer of the show, wants to inspire dancers and figure skaters with confidence and opportunities.
“Our mission is to provide a creative medium to improve awareness and participation from our youth in organized skating and dance in local communities,” said Pennington. “We want to offer support, strength and encouragement for today’s youth to skate and dance their way to their dreams.”
Pennington was captivated by watching Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” show, particularly when contestant Sara Von Gillen told her story of her love for skating as a child. At the time, Pennington was producing a benefit skate show for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and was inspired with a new idea. Pennington said he “loved watching ‘SYTYCD’ and thought, why not trying something different like combining skating and dance” in his shows? These ideas later transformed into choreographed dancing and skating sequences that make up the performances.
Pennington reached out to Sara Von Gillen and Gev Manoukin, another contestant on “SYTYCD,” to perform in Skate for Life, the benefit for Muscular Dystrophy. This first show also included some other famous skaters including Olympians Melissa Gregory, Denis Petukhov, Jennifer Robinson and two-time national champion Alissa Czisny. He wanted every young skater to be inspired by their idols and heroes, as well as give them the opportunity to perform and train with world-class figure skaters and “SYTYCD” competitors.
Pennington shared that when he was 16 years old, he had the opportunity to skate with his idol, Scott Hamilton. Hamilton is a figure skating champion, who is world renowned as well as an Olympic gold medalist. This changed Pennington’s life forever.
When inviting other stars to participate, he hopes he can “light up children’s faces and use the positive energy to change their lives.”
According to the Skate Dance Dream website, Pennington wants to inspire, encourage and motivate today’s youth skaters to dream big and chase their goals. Pennington’s passion for figure skating was not the only reason he chose skating and dance for his performances. He added, “It offers the ability to freely express ourselves.” He later disclosed that the sport teaches hard work and dedication.
The first shows of Skate Dance Dream were in Wooster and Mentor. These productions sold out in both venues, and had 225 participants. Those involved included young skaters, dancers and stars.
The stars of the shows are encouraged to take an informal mentoring role, and support all performers in achieving their goals.
The show on Sept. 15 at Gilmour will have 75 participants. Ashley Valerio, a “SYTYCD” contestant, Richard Dornbush, a silver medalist, and national competitor, Sean Rabbitt will all being appearing at this show. The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Gilmour Academy Ice Arena in Gates Mills. More information can be found on posters around campus, by calling (440) 865-2005 or going to the group’s website.